Vanilla Cake with Blackberry-Mascarpone Filling

Happy Spring!!  I say that with a tinge of sarcasm as we still have a full coverage of snow here in Connecticut, but I would say things are looking up weather-wise. And if not, I’m leaving for Florida tonight for a few days of vacay so who cares!  I’m celebrating spring regardless of what it looks like outside because I’m just so freaking excited for all the things that are associated with this season.  I’m sick of my winter wardrobe, done with boots, ready for ankle pants, ballet flats, and plenty of bright colors.  In terms of food, I’m celebrating with an obvious choice – buttercream flowers.  But not just any kind of flowers, anemones!  This variety of bloom is very popular over in Pinterest-land and I am guilty of following trend and falling in love with them too.  Definitely expect to see some in my wedding arrangements!  So when I saw a tutorial for how to make anemones out of frosting and blackberries in the Best of Martha Stewart Cakes and Cupcakes magazine, I knew they’d make an appearance here on the blog.  So go ahead and start bringing on the Spring 2013 trends with some floral jeans, neon accessories, bold stripes,  and of course, anemone cupcakes!

I actually made this cake for my birthday a few weeks ago.  And yes, I know it’s ridiculous to go through the trouble of baking a cake for your own birthday, but when you enjoy these types of things as much as I do, it’s definitely more of a treat than a chore.  I was still looking for a go-to vanilla cake recipe when I set out to make this cake, and now I am proud to say I’ve found my cake!  I’ve always been a vanilla-vanilla girl, so I was so happy to find a homemade version that delivered so well.  There are a lot of recipes out there that claim to be the “best” white cake, and I can’t say I’ve tried a gazillion recipes, but this one was really, really good.  The method of making the batter was a little foreign to me, but I’m pretty sure whatever made it so different had to do with the excellent results.  A nice delicate crumb, soft texture, and a beautiful white color.  I paired the white cake with a blackberry-marscapone filling to tie in the blackberry flowers and I thought it all worked beautifully together.  Normally my instinct is to lean towards a cream cheese-based filling, but it was my birthday so I was feeling glamorous and splurged with the mascarpone.  The outer frosting is just simple buttercream dyed yellow because, well, I love yellow!

The cake recipe is for an 8″ cake, but I decided to make a 6″ one instead and bake the rest of the batter as cupcakes.  I’m glad I did because I think the anemones as cupcakes are absolutely adorable.  I could totally see these taking center stage at a party, shower, or even wedding!  The great thing is that they’re really SO easy to make.  You do need a special petal frosting tip (I used this #127 from Wilton), but once you have that it’s really pretty straightforward.  Watch this video tutorial by Savory Sweet Life for a visual reference on piping petals.  Then I sprinkled some black sanding sugar in the centers and set half a blackberry on top of each one, cut side up.  I have no idea how many petals anemones are supposed to have, and I know they’re generally more mutli-layered and textured, but these look pretty darn close and I hope no one’s counting!

 

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Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Mascarpone Filling

Cake recipe adapted from i am baker

Yield: 1 8" cake or 1 6" cake + 8 cupcakes

Ingredients:

for the white cake/cupcakes:
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes

for the blackberry mascarpone filling:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 pint blackberries
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the vanilla buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

for decoration:
Handful of blackberries cut in halves
Black sanding sugar
Petal decorating tip

Directions:

for the white cake/cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 8" cake pans, or 2 6" cake pans + 8 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla extract and beat with a fork or whisk until blended.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, mix the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cubes of butter a few at a time, continuing to beat on low speed for another 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add all but 1/2 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and increase speed to medium for 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the milk and continue to beat for another minute.
- Pour batter evenly among the cake pans and fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full if you're using them. Bake the cake for about 27 to 30 minutes and the cupcakes for 20-23, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

for the blackberry mascarpone filling:
- In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese and blackberries and use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the berries.
- Add the powdered sugar slowly, then the vanilla, and continue to fold gently by hand until evenly distributed.

for the vanilla buttercream:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat well until completely mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and continue to beat for another 1-2 minutes until smooth.
- Transfer about 1/4 of the buttercream to a piping bag fit with a coupler tip to do the flowers and dye the rest your desired color for the cake.

for assembly and decoration:
- Level your cake layers and transfer the bottom layer to a cake circle or cake plate. With a large round tip, pipe an outline of vanilla buttercream on top of the layer and then fill the circle in with the blackberry mascarpone filling. The buttercream creates a nice dam for the filling so it doesn't leak out.
- Stack the other layer on top and apply a crumb coat of buttercream frosting to the entire cake. Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, then complete your final layer of frosting.
- For the anemone flowers, put a large petal tip on the coupler of the buttercream frosting and pipe a number simple flowers on the cake (I suggest watching this video tutorial by Savory Sweet Life). Sprinkle the centers with black sanding sugar and place a half blackberry on each cupcake, with the cut side up.
- For the cupcakes I cut out cones from the center of each one and filled them will the blackberry mascarpone filling. Then I frosted them with a thin layer of yellow buttercream before piping on the anemones.